Strategic plans often focus on the short-term actions to move your company towards the future.
To validate your thinking, take a different perspective: picture yourself in the future, looking back in time. Can you tell the story describing what your company will look like in 5 years time and why it will have been successful?
There are 5 areas to the story.
#1 Will your company have capable board directors and C-suite leaders?
- What new and different competencies, skills and experience were added to the board?
- How did character, ethics, and value play a role in success?
- How committed were the directors to the company and success?
- What role did the directors’ judgement play?
The above questions help you describe a board which will be competitively differentiated in growing and preserving the company’s value.
#2 Will your company have a strong strategic position?
- Will your company be a market share leader or in the top three?
- Why will your market position be defensible? g. Intellectual property? Strong brand?
- Will there be steady market demand fundamentals, or will your products and services be a “fad” or “fashion”?
- Will you have had a history of strong, recurring cashflows?
- Why will your margins have been sustainable? Why was no competitor able to reduce your market share via lower pricing?
#3 Will your company be competitively differentiated?
- Who will be your target customers?
- What will be the problems or needs of your target customers? Are their needs so urgent they will seek out a solution and seek out your company?
- How will you solve their problems or needs?
- How will you be marketing and selling to your target customers?
- In the hearts and minds of your target customers, how will your company be competitively differentiated? In other words: why will customers buy from you rather than the competition?
- How will your delivery model (business model) be competitively differentiated, and what will be your benchmark scores?
- How will your management and staff be competitively differentiated?
With all of the above, describe how over time things changed: the customers, suppliers, partners, and the ecosystem.
#4 What will be your potential for further growth?
- What will be the growth potential? Or will growth flatten out?
- What will be the room for performance improvements? Or will you have reached limits such as technology?
- What is the potential to further improve the capabilities of your board and C-suite? These sorts of changes can not only take more than 5 years but may be ongoing.
#5 Have you sustained growth and performance?
- Have you had continuous improvements, year-after-year, in products, services, and costs? Or were there a few major one-time events?
- Have you been regularly developing new products and services, and entering new markets?
- How did your respond to unexpected problems and crises? Some companies are destroyed by unexpected problems and crises. Others not only survive but continue to grow.
- How did you monitor emerging external developments and respond to them?
To enable discussion with your board and management, download the following one-page slide: